Security measures at major venues throughout the city continue to ramp up in light of the recent terrorist attacks following a concert in Manchester, England.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Manchester, England, as they work to deal with the challenging and troubling circumstances created by the horrific attack by Isis sympathizers,” acccording to a statement released by the Los Angeles Sherriff’s Dapartment.
“Los Angeles County is made up of a unique and diverse population. It is home to people from all over the world, including England. We stand united with our English residents, locally and globally. We at the LA County Sheriff’s Department send compassion and prayers to those families who lost loved ones.”
“While there have not been specific or credible threats received by law enforcement for the greater Los Angeles area since the terrorist attack outside Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, our personnel maintain a heightened state of situational awareness and remain vigilant in the protection of our communities.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department employs thousands of uniformed deputy sheriffs who are on-duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week, patrolling and protecting the many diverse and varying communities of Los Angeles County.
“As we go about our day, we ask the public to remain vigilant and report any information about potential incidents to their local law enforcement. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile app on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.
Remember, “if you see something, say something,” said Sheriff Jim McDonnell.
Last week’s suicide bomb attack in Manchester killed 22 people (including children), and injured 119 more.
After the initial tradgedy, three shows following Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” European tour were suspended and four shows the scheduled by the English pop group “Take That” also postponed its shows.
Katy Perry, Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Imagine Dragons, Shawn Mendes and the Chainsmokers went ahead with performances in Hull, England, at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, according to TMZ. Hull is about two hours from Manchester.
According to a statement by representatives for Grande’s European tour dates through June 5 were canceled, including dates in London, Belgium, Poland, Germany and Switzerland. The tour will resume in Paris on June 7. Refunds will be granted for the canceled shows, according to the Associated Press.
The suicide bomber in Manchester appears to have adopted the latest technique in the terrorist playbook, said John Reese of Synrgy Global Entertainment which promotes many local festivals, including the Blackest of the Black metal fest in Orange County and the Lost Highway Motorcycle and Music event in San Bernardino County.
Instead of trying to penetrate the secure perimeter of a building or event, he appears to have struck just at that edge, detonating his improvised explosive device just as thousands of fans, many of them quite young, started streaming out of the building at the end of the show.
“Our system is currently built around the idea that it’s from the perimeter of the building in,” said Chris Robinette, chief executive officer of Prevent Advisors, a Los Angeles-based firm that specializes in stadium and arena security. “We need to think about looking out and exterior. More parking lot, more foyer, more patio area. We need to start reallocating and addressing those areas of security.
“That’s just the nature of where the threat manifests itself today,” he said.
Owners and operators of major venues around the region expressed condolences and reassurance after the Manchester attack.
“Along with everyone else, we are shocked and saddened by the terrible tragedy in Manchester, England,” said Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center, Microsoft Theater and L.A. Live, in a written statement. “There is nothing more important to us … than the safety and security of our guests, employees and performers. We evaluate our comprehensive security plans and needs prior to every event and are committed to creating a safe environment for everyone.”
Representatives of other arenas, including the Forum in Inglewood and Anaheim’s Honda Center, said much the same, while keeping confidential the specifics of current or future security plans.
But Robinette, Reese and Ali Abbas, a University of Southern California professor who previously ran the school’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, all had more to say about what we’ve accomplished already in terms of concert safety and where we might go to address this newer form of threat.
“Now the security systems are so robust it’s pretty futile to try to penetrate them,” said Robinette, whose firm is a subsidiary of Oak View Group, a sports and live entertainment company co-founded by music industry mogul Irving Azoff, which also includes the Arena Alliance, a consortium of 26 major arenas including the Forum and Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“Now they’re trying to attack where lines are, and people are vulnerable,” he said. “That’s the way the threat over time has responded. It’s point, counterpoint, and now we need to respond.”
The staff of Prevent Advisors refers to “the Big Four” threats: cyber-security and drones, active shooters, explosives, and vehicle rammings, Robinette said.
“Ten years ago many of those things were never thought of as (likely) problems,” he said. “Now we’re saying these threats can be dealt with. There are always counter measures. terror attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, everything — airports, concerts, sporting events and more—adapted to address the new security challenges.
“It’s focused on large bags and pat downs and metal detectors,” he said.
“The thing I preach the most to my staff is that public safety is No. 1,” said Reese, who before he became a music promoter worked for a decade in event security for large shows and festivals. “There’s nothing more important, because we’re bringing large numbers of people to public places where there might be wackos.”
Abbas, whose expertise includes using data to manage risk and make decisions, said the deployment of smart technology can further protect people gathered in large venues from new threats.
Instead, Abbas says randomized checks of people as they arrive — whether at an airport, an arena, or someplace such as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which would be used for the Olympics in 2024 should the city win its bid — can be used to target high-risk threats and better allocate security. And use “machine learning to look for correlations (and) features of the attack that can help us in the future.”
Perhaps, he said, concerts and sporting events might adopt the “trusted traveler” pre-screening that the Transportation Security Administration uses for air travel. Security cameras can use automated technology to detect suspicious movements in crowds like those that fill the plazas around venues. Parking garages might add equipment to sniff for bombs as vehicles enter and park.
Robinette talked about measures the building owners and operators might add, too. Changing the flow and concentration with which people enter and leave. Increasing the amount of security and law enforcement personnel who are moving through crowds.
Another tactic could be the use of “Vapor wake” dogs that are trained to detect the presence of explosive materials. “They sniff with their head up and they will actively seek out someone carrying an explosive device,” he said.